Weedpatch 2018 Event Page

 

Words by two-time Grammy-winning storyteller BILL HARLEY
Music by Stanford University Professor PAUL PHILLIPS
Directed by David Bass and Kathy Lindsay
Choreography by Rachel Zimmerman
Photography by David Rabkin
Logo by Jen Fuchel

This exciting and beautiful new opera is set at the historical Weedpatch school,
built and run by determined Oklahoma migrants who show resilience and humor
in the face of hardship and hostility from the settled Californians.
[SYNOPSIS with demo MP3s]
Presented by an inter-generational cast in English with side titles.
Links about Weedpatch HERE, HERE, and HERE

 

PERFORMANCES:
Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Sunday, March 18, 2018 at 1:00pm and 5:00pm
Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 1:00pm and 5:00pm
SEE WHEN YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS PERFORMED!
View/Download our program booklet HERE

Performances were at the Peabody School 70 Rindge Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Principal Soloists

Show 3 (left) Show 4 (right) Role
Tess Carney Sophia Teller Sarah Rondell
Jeff Moore Tom Hamill Cal Rondell, Sarah's father
Kathy Lindsay Laura Gill Agnes Rondell, Sarah's grandmother
Nyx Bigler Julia Teller Patty, Sarah’s best friend
Ilan Balzac Riley McKinney Willy, Sarah’s suitor
Aimee Yermish Katie Hamill Leo Hart, Superintendent of Schools
Mark Bildman Nate Burket James Callahan, teacher at Weedpatch School
Emma Adler Nicole McElhoe Nora Borden, Weedpatch School principal
Emilija Baksys Sue Holcomb Professor Ruth Crawford
Katarina Dvornik Fiona O'Loughlin Abby, an eager young singer
 
Jill Pelavin
Margery Meadow
Jeff Bigler
Jason Merrill
 
Emilija Baksys
Leetka Katzenblickstein
Megan Morse
Craig Burket
KERN COUNTY CITIZENS COMMITTEE:
     Mrs. Rumpole
     Mrs. Havisham-Fawlty
     Mr(s). Gilbert-Sullivan
     Mr. Rackstraw

 


It is 1940, and migrants escaping the Oklahoma Dust Bowl during the Great Depression have settled at the Arvin Federal Migrant Camp near Bakersfield, California.
Cast X All the Way from Oklahoma Cast Y All the Way from Oklahoma
Listen to All the Way from Oklahoma, with solos by Chloe Duggan, Maya Agam, Tom Gould, Sara Verrilli, Lena Gorelik, and Alice Merrill Hunter Listen to All the Way from Oklahoma, with solos by Vivianna Jones Tandon, Katie Leiserson, Rick Nilsson, Ruth Rogers, Rachel Cooper, and Merilee Jewett

 

Local residents look disdainfully on the Okies and skeptically on the school they established to teach their migrant children.
Cast X I Have Seen Enough Cast Y I Have Seen Enough
Listen to I Have Seen Enough sung by the Kern County Citizens Committee with additional solos by Leo Pettenuzzo and Kate Berelowitch. Dancers: Jessica Cashdan, Oriana McKanan, Liz Morse, Julie Viens Listen to I Have Seen Enough sung by the Kern County Citizens Committee with additional solos by Zayaan Mamun and Theo Gillig. Dancers: Eloise Botka, Julie McKinney, Ruth Rogers, Rachel Zimmerman

 

James Callahan arrives to teach math and music to Oklahoma migrants at the school. The children he encounters explain that the Arvin Camp and its school have come to be known as Weedpatch.
Cast X We're Weedpatch Cast Y We're Weedpatch
Listen to We're Weedpatch sung by James, Willy, and the chorus, with additional solos by Birikti Kahsai, Alice Merrill Hunter, Lena Gorelik, Leo Pettenuzzo, Kate Berelowitch, Chloe Duggan, and Maya Agam Listen to We're Weedpatch sung by James, Willy, and the chorus, with additional solos by Sophia Nilsson, Merilee Jewett, Rachel Cooper, Zayaan Mamun, Theo Gillig, Vivianna Jones Tandon, and Katie Leiserson

 

Leo Hart, the Kern County School Superintendent, greets James and expounds on the origin of the Weedpatch School.
Cast X We Built This School Cast Y We Built This School
Listen to We Built This School sung by James, Leo, and the chorus, with additional solos by Kate Berelowitch and Davide Pettenuzzo Listen to We Built This School sung by James, Leo, and the chorus, with additional solos by Theo Gillig and Louis Jones Tandon

 

Leo introduces James to Nora Borden, the principal of the school. Nora has Sarah Rondell sing for James, and everyone joins in. James is impressed, but Cal, Sarah’s father, disapproves and orders her home.
Cast X Wayfaring Stranger Cast Y Wayfaring Stranger
Listen to Wayfaring Stranger sung by James, Leo, Nora, Sarah, Patty, and the chorus, with additional solos by Leo Pettenuzzo, Maya Agam, and Chloe Duggan Listen to Wayfaring Stranger sung by James, Leo, Nora, Sarah, Patty, and the chorus, with additional solos by Zayaan Mamun, Katie Leiserson, and Vivianna Jones Tandon

 

Back at her family’s tent, Sarah tells her grandmother Agnes how excited she is that James believes in her talent.
Cast X He Said That I Could Sing Cast Y He Said That I Could Sing
Listen to He Said That I Could Sing sung by Sarah and Agnes Listen to He Said That I Could Sing sung by Sarah and Agnes

 

Cal berates Sarah for not doing her chores. He is bitter that his wife Laura died during their journey to California and that he now faces so much hardship. Cal doesn’t like it when Sarah sings because she sounds just like Laura, and Sarah agrees not to.
Cast X It Ain't That Easy Cast Y It Ain't That Easy
Listen to It Ain't That Easy sung by Cal, Sarah, and Agnes Listen to It Ain't That Easy sung by Cal, Sarah, and Agnes

 

Sarah commiserates with her best friend, Patty.
Cast X Someone I Can Count On Cast Y Someone I Can Count On
Listen to Someone I Can Count On sung by Patty and Sarah Listen to Someone I Can Count On sung by Patty and Sarah

 

Leo tells James and Nora that he believes that featuring the new Weedpatch Chorus at the upcoming Kern County Talent Show will convince the community of the worth of the Okies. James is enthusiastic, but Nora is skeptical.
Cast X A Song's the Thing Cast Y A Song's the Thing
Listen to A Song's the Thing sung by Leo, James, and Nora Listen to A Song's the Thing sung by Leo, James, and Nora

 

The chorus enters, and three kids greet the adults. James tells Patty to get Sarah, and the chorus practices “Our Promised Land” by the celebrated Gus Monroe. Sarah arrives, very reluctant. Joseph and Abby each sing a verse of “Away, Far Away,” but when it's Sarah's turn, the song reminds her of her mother. She is overcome with emotion and runs off.
Cast X Away Far Away Cast Y Our Promised Land / Away Far Away
Listen to Our Promised Land / Away Far Away sung by Leo, James, Nora, Patty, Sarah, and the chorus, with additional solos by Adam Gould, Gal Agam, Hadar Agam, and Chris Edel as Joseph. Listen to Our Promised Land / Away Far Away sung by Leo, James, Nora, Patty, Sarah, and the chorus, with additional solos by Julianna Jones Tandon, Aytan Hamill, Sophia Nilsson, and Charles Leiserson as Joseph.

 

James goes to the Rondell tent to convince Cal to let Sarah develop her talent, but Cal is suspicious. Agnes intervenes, attempting to soften Cal’s animosity. Cal relents and agrees to let Sarah sing at the Talent Show.
Cast X You Don't Know Cast Y You Don't Know / There's Got to Be More
Listen to You Don't Know / There's Got to Be More sung by James, Cal, and Agnes Listen to You Don't Know / There's Got to Be More sung by James, Cal, and Agnes

 

At the Talent Show in Bakersfield, parents from the town and from the camp keep their distance from each other, even as their kids Tammy/Timmy and Ruthie try to mingle and play. Leo and his co-emcee introduce the performers: first ballet dancers, then jugglers. Willy, his friend Bobby from the Camp, and three young ruffians from Town taunt the performers and each other. The Weedpatch Chorus sings “Bright Morning Stars,” and Sarah sings beautifully at first, but falters at the line, “Oh where are our dear mothers?”
Cast Y The Talent Show
Listen to The Talent Show sung by the entire cast, with Jessica Cashdan and Liz Morse as Town parents; Abbe Cohen Dvornik and Bill Laskin as Camp parents; Meredith Gast as Tammy; Verity Gould as Ruthie; Beth Hocking as the Emcee; Joanne Nicklas, Julie Viens, and Hannah Erickson as Town ruffians; and Yifei Sun as Bobby. Dancers: Chloe Duggan, Dina Gorelik, and Birikti Kahsai. Jugglers: Meredith Gast and Leo Pettenuzzo. Listen to The Talent Show sung by the entire cast, with Danny Scibelli and Sara St. Antoine as Town parents; Rachel Zimmerman and John Kernochan as Camp parents; Walter Hopwood as Timmy; Sophie Hopwood as Ruthie; Glenn McElhoe as the Emcee; Ben Jerome, Eoin Rogers, and Eloise Botka as Town ruffians; and Melanie Cohn-Hopwood as Bobby. Dancers: Laima Jerome, Katie Leiserson, and Sophia Nilsson. Jugglers: Sophie Hopwood and Kostas Jerome.

 

When Sarah falters, the Town ruffians mock her, and Willy begins a fight. A policeman arrests Willy and sends the Okies back to Arvin. A furious Cal tells Sarah never to sing again.
Cast Y The Melee
Listen to The Melee sung by the entire cast, with Jessica Cashdan as a Town parent; Hannah Erickson, Julie Viens, and Joanne Nicklas as Town ruffians; and Dan McKanan as the policeman. Listen to The Melee sung by the entire cast, with Eloise Botka, Eoin Rogers, and Ben Jerome as Town ruffians; and Alec McKinney as the policeman.

 

Four children find a dime and dream of what they might spend it on.
Cast X If I Had a Dime Cast Y If I Had a Dime
Listen to If I Had a Dime sung by Oriana McKanan, Kerry LaRose, Dina Gorelik, and Marin Manoach Listen to If I Had a Dime sung by Eloise Botka, Anya Miller, Addie Kelsey, and Nicci Stamos

 

At the Rondell tent, Willy arrives and tells Sarah excitedly about his night in jail, after which he rambled around California. Willy asks Sarah to run off with him, but Sarah is ambivalent.
Cast X I Seen a Big World Cast Y I Seen a Big World
Listen to I Seen a Big World sung by Willy, Sarah, and Agnes Listen to I Seen a Big World sung by Willy, Sarah, and Agnes

 

Agnes tells Sarah to believe in herself and her dreams.
Cast X There's Nothing Wrong with Dreams Cast Y There's Nothing Wrong with Dreams
Listen to There's Nothing Wrong with Dreams sung by Sarah and Agnes Listen to There's Nothing Wrong with Dreams sung by Sarah and Agnes

 

James bursts in on Nora’s classroom, to her great consternation. Undeterred, James tells her about a letter he has just received from Professor Ruth Crawford, his former professor at Berkeley. The professor’s son Pete is coming to Weedpatch with Gus Monroe! The kids and staff at the school are totally psyched. James tells Nora of his plan to feature Pete and Gus in a concert with the Weedpatch Chorus in three days. Nora is opposed, but James convinces her to agree to the concert.
Cast X Don't Tell Us No Miss Borden Cast Y Don't Tell Us No Miss Borden
Listen to Don't Tell Us No, Miss Borden, sung by James, Nora, and the chorus, with additional solos by Ella Lehrich, Anastasia Miller, and Esther Fu. Listen to Don't Tell Us No, Miss Borden, sung by James, Nora, and the chorus, with additional solos by Polina Danielyan, Keiara Hunter, and Merilee Jewett.

 

James prepares to rehearse the Weedpatch Chorus for the upcoming concert. The chorus is over the moon at the thought of performing for Gus Monroe, but Sarah refuses to sing. 
Cast X On the Radio Cast Y On the Radio
Listen to On the Radio sung by James, Leo, Nora, Sarah, Patty, Abby, and the chorus, with additional solos by Juli Berndt, Meredith Gast, Eliza Weinberger, Maya Agam, and Hannah Erickson Listen to On the Radio sung by James, Leo, Nora, Sarah, Patty, Abby, and the chorus, with additional solos by Laima Jerome, Lindsey Miller, Kostas Jerome, Katie Leiserson, and Hima Saini

 

As the chorus rehearses, Sarah can’t help herself and joins in. Everyone praises Sarah, but Cal enters and furiously reminds Sarah that she must never again sing.
Cast X Who Will Sing This Song Cast Y Who Will Sing This Song
Listen to Who Will Sing This Song sung by Abby, Sarah, Cal, Nora, James, Willy, Cal, and the chorus Listen to Who Will Sing This Song sung by Abby, Sarah, Cal, Nora, James, Willy, Cal, and the chorus

 

James and Nora share how committed they are to helping Sarah through her plight.
Cast X I Want to Be There Cast  Y I Want to Be There
Listen to I Want to Be There sung by Nora and James Listen to I Want to Be There sung by Nora and James

 

The Weedpatch Community Hall is abuzz. Professor Crawford is there, but Cal refuses to let Sarah sing for her, despite James's pleas. Willy continues to pressure Sarah to run off with him. Pete and Gus are late, to the consternation of Leo and Ruth.
Listen to Best Laid Plans sung by the whole cast and chorus Listen to Best Laid Plans sung by the whole cast and chorus

 

The School Board members express their impatience and their disapproval of Gus Monroe. In desperation Leo asks James to lead the chorus in a song. Sarah is torn, but finally decides to sing. The chorus again sings “Bright Morning Stars” and again Sarah falters at “Oh where are our dear mothers?” This time, Cal rises and sings from where she left off. Others stand and join in, one by one, until everyone is singing.
Listen to Bright Morning Stars (reprise) sung by the whole cast and chorus Listen to Bright Morning Stars (reprise) sung by the whole cast and chorus

 

Celebration ensues. Ruth offers Sarah a scholarship to Berkeley, and her family implores her to go. Meanwhile, the School Board tells Leo they will generously fund the Weedpatch School. Finally Pete and Gus arrive, and they lead everyone in a final rendition of “Our Promised Land.”
Listen to Our Promised Land (reprise) sung by the whole cast and chorus, with Chris Edel as Gus Monroe and introducing David Bass as Pete Crawford. Listen to Our Promised Land (reprise) sung by the whole cast and chorus, with Glenn McElhoe as Gus Monroe and introducing David Bass as Pete Crawford.